That place: The Friend-Zone.
I have great friends. Friends that I've known since I was kid, friends I met in college, friends I met as an adult and they are wonderful people. They are supportive and funny, talented and great listeners. I am lucky... no, blessed to know such amazing people. That said, I also have enough friends, I'm not looking for any more.
Don't get me wrong, I love meeting new people and making friends, but I am done, over, FINISHED being friends with guys that I have a romantic interest in - and who seem to have a romantic interest in me. It's happened so many times, I can almost say the speech with them:
"You're amazing... and perfect for me. No, really, you are... It's just... I'm afraid. I've been hurt in the past and I need to take things slow, like, really slow. I don't want a relationship. I'm trying to find a spark for you, and I think I can, if you're just patient. I don't want to ask you to wait for me but I'm just not ready for a relationship... Can we just be friends for now?" *Find the spark? Are you effing kidding me? Either you have it or you don't, but find it? No. Relationships take work, a ton of work, and they take time to build, but either you have the feeling, the desire, the spark or you don't. Listen pal, no one is trying to jump into a relationship - least of all me (yes, I have commitment issues) and honestly, you're not the only one who has been hurt. Put on your big boy pants and get over it. To me, it's all excuses and a cowardly way out of saying what he really means:
"I think you're a cool chick and I really like hanging out with you, but I don't want you as my girlfriend. I don't want to make you mad or hurt your feelings, so I'm going to string you along for as long as possible."I have really good male friends - some of my best friends are men, and yes, I am a cool chick. I have a great sense of humor and I like football. I've always been friends with boys - in elementary school, I had my girl-friends, much like I do now, but there were some days when I just wanted to play catch football with the fellas (more than likely, I had a crush on one of them). Somewhere along the line, I became "one of the guys" and now, I can't seem to shake that stigma.
I tend to bring out a certain level of comfort in the men I date. They feel the need to really open up to me - I know things that, as the current flame, I shouldn't know. I know about women who broke their hearts and all the nice things they did for those ex-girlfriends (who are exes for a reason) and, as one guy put it, "I feel bad, because I don't do those things for you." What, on God's green earth, would posses a man to tell me that? He told me about the flowers he would buy and the little gestures he would do just to make her feel special (the same her that cheated on him, but hey, at least he had a spark)... and then didn't understand why I was upset.
It gets worse.
I have recently realized that I am a good luck charm. Wanting to find "the one?" Date me! Apparently, men fall in love after dating me - the only problem is, they fall in love with someone else. This has happened with three men I've dated in the past year. Seriously. I am the female equivalent of Good Luck Chuck. At least they're finding love, right? I'm an asset to humanity. I'm the flippin' Mother Teresa of dating!
I'm also very dramatic. As cliché as it sounds, I know that if a relationship didn't work out with someone, it's because he was wasn't the one, and that doesn't mean he shouldn't find love. Reality is, when a person is the right one, the friendship, intimacy, romance - all of it - flows naturally. Sparks burn out quickly. I'd rather feel like the sun - regardless of what happened yesterday, the sun will rise today. As Common said in the song The Light- it don't take a whole day to recognize sunshine.
I realize that in order to have a successful relationship, a couple has to be friends - best friends. Actually, I think that is one of the worst parts of breaking up - losing a good friend. The flip side, however, is that in order to have a successful relationship and become best friends, this notion of holding back or keeping someone at bay is only going to deteriorate trust, and that is what is needed to be friends, right?
I actually had the crazy notion recently that maybe I need to be different - change the very essence of me in order to catch a man. This was a fleeting thought because the reality is, I can't change who I am. I'm a cool chick who is a good catch, maybe I just haven't found the right bait to nibble on. Until I do, I'll keep swimming past the worms and wait.
*The speech can be substituted with the following lines:
"Can't we just be friends?"
"I really value your friendship."
"I don't want to ruin our friendship."
"I make a better friend than I do a boyfriend."
"You don't want to get involved with me."
and the ever popular, forever classic
"Who's your friend? She's hot!"
Next time: Dammit, Jim!